Citizen Schools

Citizen Schools

Catalyst’s Experiential Learning and Professional Development Impact Social Emotional Learning in the Classroom

Teachers are the primary change agents for student learning outcomes and any systemic change taking place within our education system. As such, teachers must have access to the support and training they need to be successful.

Today, schools that serve communities with high concentrations of poverty, particularly those of color, often emphasize batch processing, retention and recitation of information. This is in sharp contrast to the experiential learning approaches used in schools serving more affluent populations. Citizen Schools’ Catalyst program provides teachers in underserved communities with training and resources to create collaborative environments where students, peers and mentors work together to solve real-world problems in the classroom. Through this approach, the Catalyst program combines a gold-standard experiential learning pedagogy with tailored, concurrent professional development, utilizing career mentors who form relationships with students while also supporting teachers to localize relevant content.

A grant from All Points North Foundation will support training for teachers and career mentors in New York City, Massachusetts, California, Ohia, North Carolina, and Texas as Citizen Schools expands its footprint to bring authentic, project-based learning to science classrooms, both during and after the school day. Informed by a rigorous evaluation, the Catalyst model intentionally unites core programmatic elements to connect science teachers and career mentors in creating engaging, high-quality STEM learning experiences for students in underserved communities.

Through this program, teachers benefit from professional development including personalized coaching, and students benefit from assessments that help prioritize social emotional learning skills. Teachers and career mentors are matched through a database and support services to ensure a successful collaboration.

Teachers are optimistic that Catalyst can impact underserved students’ social emotional learning, collaborative problem solving and self-efficacy skills, while positioning them to thrive in the 21st century.

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Photo credit: Citizen Schools and Givewith

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All Points North Foundation provides grants for U.S.-based projects and initiatives that support our priorities: improving public middle school education and teacher training, and implementing effective solar programs and/or projects.

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